Dudu Myeni slapped with R120,000 fine or two years in jail after revealing identity of protected Zondo witness
Sentencing was handed down to the former chair for revealing the identity of a protected witness — Mr X — during the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.
The sentence meted out on Wednesday in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court follows a plea and sentencing agreement Myeni entered with the state. The agreement was read into the record by her lawyer Nqabayethu Buthelezi.
Myeni pleaded guilty to a charge of obstruction of justice for her actions. The court ordered that half of the fine or two years’ imprisonment be suspended for five years. The first R30,000 has to be paid immediately and the remainder must be settled on or before 29 August.
Myeni revealed the identity of the protected witness known as — Mr X — despite a strict order from commission chairperson Raymond Zondo that the name be withheld.
The charge related to events that transpired during the State Capture Commission of Inquiry in November 2020. Myeni had just revealed the identity of “Mr X” — a witness implicating her in alleged dodgy deals with Mhlathuze Water Board and a housing contract from the Mpumalanga government.
In terms of the agreement, Myeni admitted that she was fully aware of her conduct while giving testimony on 5 November 2020. Also on the day in question Myeni further admits that while testifying to the commission, she disclosed the true identity of Mr X on more than one occasion, which defeated or obstructed the administration of justice.
“Admit that she had no justification of her actions and that due to her actions the true identity of Mr X was revealed to the public in contravention of the order made by the chairperson of the commission. The accused admits that all material times she knew that her actions were wrongful, unlawful and punishable by law,” her plea and sentence agreement reads.
In mitigation of sentence, her lawyer indicated the court should take into consideration that she was a first-time offender, unemployed without any form of income, declared a delinquent director in the Pretoria high court on 28 May 2020 which has an adverse impact on her personal circumstances, has no previous conviction and is turning 60 years old in October this year.
The lawyer also told the court that Myeni has not earned a steady income since 2017 and is currently surviving on the support of her family. Buthelezi added that Myeni had shown remorse and made no attempts to evade justice which should be considered in her sentencing.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane welcoming the sentence said: “The sentence does send a strong message, especially in terms of regulations that regulate the different commissions that we normally have in the country. Miss Dudu Myeni has learned a lesson and we believe that it is also a lesson to society that once a chairperson has made an order during a commission, it is for all those that will be testifying to comply with the order.”
In May 2020, a high court declared Myeni a delinquent director and banned her for life from holding any directorship position. She was further ordered to abandon all her directorships, including her roles as SAA chairperson, executive chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation and deputy chairperson of Free State electricity distribution company Centlec. In April 2021, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed one of her two appeals against the delinquent-for-life ruling. DM